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Financial Summit Agrees on Measures to Fight Deep Recession


Leaders from developing and industrial countries met in Washington Saturday for an emergency summit on the global financial crisis. VOA's Barry Wood reports the five-hour meeting ended with a resolve to work together to keep markets open and prevent further economic weakening.

Outgoing US President Bush declared the summit a success, saying the leaders are committed to pro-growth policies. The meeting agreed on an action plan to assure smoother functioning of financial markets and said developing countries should have more say in the weighted voting structure of the International Monetary Fund, a provider of emergency loans to countries in need.

President Bush praised the achievements of this first ever meeting of leaders of 20 countries that account for over 75 percent of global output. "Our nations agreed that we must make the financial markets more transparent and accountable. Transparency is very important so that investors and regulators are able to know the truth," he said.

China, India, Russia, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, South Africa and Indonesia are among the countries joining with the Americans, Europeans and Japanese in this first G20 summit. The group agreed to meet again before the end of April.

The nine-page summit declaration says that the current crisis was caused in part by financial institutions borrowing too much and taking on too much risk. President Bush agreed that banks need to be better regulated. "We agreed that we need to improve our regulations and to insure that markets, firms, and financial products are subject to proper regulation and oversight," he said.

The participants agreed to make a new push to complete the long-stalled Doha Round of trade liberalization negotiations by the end of the year. They promised to take no actions to restrict trade.

Many of the leaders who came to the summit had hoped to meet President-elect Barack Obama. He chose to stay away, saying it would be inappropriate for him to attend. He did have two representatives at the meeting and they met privately with several of the visiting leaders.

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